1. ITV Report

Tuition fee rise scrapped, Education Secretary announces

Plans to increase the maximum level of university tuition fees have been scrapped, the Education Secretary has announced.

Credit: PA Images

Kirsty Williams confirmed the amount in Wales will remain at £9,000 with over £26m of government and investment to support students and universities over the next two years.

She also confirmed only those earning £25,000 and above will have to repay their student loans, an increase from the current £21,000.

I will not allow the political turmoil and uncertainty in England to knock us off course from delivering on a stable and sustainable higher education system in Wales.

Our sector does not operate in isolation and we must provide stability for our institutions to compete both domestically and internationally.

Given the uncertain political climate in England I have carefully considered our future plans for tuition fee levels. After consulting with our Universities and the National Union of Students, the maximum tuition fee will remain at £9,000. We are also on track to deliver the most equitable and progressive student support system in the UK, starting next academic year.

Unlike the Government across the border, we are delivering investment to support both students and universities as part of these changes.

I also remain concerned about the rate of interest charged to students whilst they study and I will continue to discuss this with counterparts in Whitehall.

– Kirsty Williams AM, Education Secretary

The news was welcomed by the National Union of Students.

I am thrilled that the Welsh Government will maintain the tuition fee cap at £9,000 and not press ahead with linking tuition fees to inflation. Doing that would have caused uncertainty and concern for students from the least privileged backgrounds, and I commend Kirsty Williams for being on the side of students.

Increasing the repayment threshold to £25,000 will also go a significant way to lifting the barriers that students face in terms of loans. It will mean that graduates will not be required to pay back a penny of their student loans until they’re earning a decent wage.

– Ellen Jones, NUS Wales President